Ethnic communal house opens to tourists near Vietnam national park

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A WWF-funded ethnic communal house near Cat Tien National Park in the southern Vietnamese province of Dong Nai opened its door to tourists Wednesday.

The 125-square-meter nha dai (long house), located on a hill next to the park in Tan Phu District, was built as part of a project titled "Eco-tourism Development at Nature Reserves in Vietnam" funded by the WWF and in collaboration with the Cat Tien National Park undertaken since 2008.

Made from natural materials, the house is the first community-based tourism facility in the area.

People from the ethnic Ma, S'tieng, and Tay communities directly participated in the design and cosntruction of the house.

According to Dang Vu Hiep, chairman of the Ta Lai Commune people's committee, the house has not only cultural significance but also economic value to the ethnic peoples living in the area.

"Community-based tourism will create stable livelihoods for local people, reduce pressure on natural resources, raise people's awareness of environmental protection, and promote the culture of the ethnic community," he said.

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